A short film that celebrates Filipino and Bakla culture in Western Sydney.
Written & Directed by Vonne Patiag
Produced by Maren Smith
Hi! I’m Vonne Patiag, an award-winning filmmaker based in Western Sydney. I’ve made a couple of shorts that have screened at numerous festivals across Australia, and my most recent short film ‘Window’ was commissioned by Olympus Cameras and had its World Premiere at St. Kilda Film Festival 2016 where it won Best Short Film in its category.
After moving home to Western Sydney, I re-connected with my Filipino roots and am now proud to present TOMGIRL as my latest film . The short celebrates the Filipino culture of Blacktown, as well as showcasing ‘Bakla’ tradition where males cross-dress as women, regarded as a ‘third gender’ in the Phillipines. The film also continues my work exploring Asian and Queer intersection, an important issue for many second-generation Australians that requires more onscreen representation.
‘Bakla’ is a Tagalog word that is translated to English as ‘Gay’, leaving many Bakla mis-labelled and misrepresented – much is ‘lost in migration’ as they move to Western cultures. TOMGIRL aims to authentically portray Bakla tradition to reclaim the identity from Western stereotypes, showcasing the innate fluidity within Filipino culture that defies labels.
Told through Justin’s eyes, the film is glam, camp and magical, with high production design elements. We’re looking to get the best design team on this film, working with established Production Designers and local Filipino artists to make sure the film is told through an authentic lens. Nailing the Bakla culture is costly work, with wigs, makeup, costumes, set dressing and a high-fashion pink blossom shower just some of the elements we are looking to source. We’re also looking to get the best anamorphic lenses and colour grade on the film which suits the magical world we’re creating but does bump up our budget!
We have received a Production Grant from Create NSW and SBS as part of their Generator: Emerging FIlmmaker’s Fund (GEFF) initiative which this year has a focus on LGBTQIA stories. Through this, TOMGIRL will have its World Premiere at the Mardi Gras Film Festival early next year, and also be broadcast on SBS as part of their coverage of the 40th Anniversary of Mardi Gras!
Tomgirl will be showing Pinoy Pride on Aussie screens! And we are asking for your help to cross that finish line in style!
Anything you can give will go a long way. Donations through the Australian Cultural Fund are TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
Thank you for all the support so far. If you’d like to receive updates on the filming process please like our Facebook page @tomgirlfilm, and track our progress via #TOMGIRLFILM & #GEFF2017